NC teachers, state employees health insurance change

Thousands of North Carolina teachers and state employees will be getting a different insurance company to administer their health plan starting in 2025, the state treasurer announced Wednesday.

Here’s what state employees and teachers — plus retirees and dependents — need to know.

What about my health insurance is changing?

The North Carolina State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees is a division of the North Carolina Treasurer’s Office. Treasurer Dale Folwell announced that the plan will switch contractors from BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina, also known as Blue Cross NC, to Aetna insurance.

However, Blue Cross NC will appeal the decision, The News & Observer reported Wednesday.

How will that affect my benefits?

It’s too soon to say (see below.) But Folwell said in a news release that he looks forward to working with Aetna “to provide price transparency, increase access and quality while lowering the cost of health care for those who teach, protect and serve, and taxpayers like them.”

How many people are affected?

The State Health Plan is for state employees, teachers, their dependents, retirees, state lawmakers, state community college and university workers, which is an estimated 740,000 people, according to the plan.

When is the change coming?

Not for about two years. Folwell said the start date for the switch from Blue Cross NC to Aetna begins on Jan. 1, 2025. The administrative contract awarded to Aetna by the State Health Plan’s trustees board lasts for three years, until Dec. 31, 2027. After that, there is the option to renew the contract for two one-year terms, according to the treasurer’s office.

Why is this happening?

According to a joint announcement from the State Health Plan and Folwell, the contract “reflects a partnership that focuses on transparency and lower costs.”

Blue Cross NC was one of the three insurance companies that went through the request for proposals process, along with Aetna and UMR, Inc.

When will I know more about my benefits?

People insured by the State Health Plan will get more information during their 2024 benefits enrollment process. In the meantime, 600 Aetna employees will begin working with the State Health Plan on the transition.

The state’s new contract with Aetna will begin in 2025. Jessica Hill AP

This story was originally published January 4, 2023 1:26 PM.

Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer

Profile Image of Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan

Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan covers North Carolina state government and politics at The News & Observer. She previously covered Durham, and has received the McClatchy President’s Award, N.C. Open Government Coalition Sunshine Award and several North Carolina Press Association awards, including for politics and investigative reporting.